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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 18, 2013 5:00pm-7:01pm EST

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quorum call:
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mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. morning business
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morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to continuing resolution to consider the following nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, robert leon wilkins of the district of columbia to be united states circuit judge for the district of columbia circuit. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 5:30 p.m. will be equally divided and controlled in the usual form. the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i rise today in strong support of the nomination of judge robert l. wilkins to be a circuit judge for the united states court of appeals for the district of columbia. i was pleased to introduce judge wilkins to the judiciary committee in september and the committee favorably reported his nomination in october. judge wilkins currently serves as a federal district judge for the u.s. district court for the district of columbia and was unanimously confirmed by the senate for this position in 2010. i urge the senate to invoke
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cloture to allow be a up-or-down vote on this extremely qualified nominee. he is a native of muncie, indiana, obtained his d.s. from rose holeman institute of technology and his j.d. from harvard law school. following graduation, judges wilkins clerked for the honorable earl b.killia m for the southern district of california. he later served as staff attorney for the public defender service for the district of columbia. he then practiced as a partner with the venable law firm specializing in white collar crime, intellectual property and complex civil litigation before taking the bench as a judge. besides judge wilkins' professional accomplishments as an attorney he has played a leading role as a plaintiff in the landmark civil rights case in maryland involving racial profiling. during his tenure with the
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public defender service and in private practice, judge wilkins served as the lead plaintiff in wilkins versus state of maryland against the maryland state police for a traffic stop they conducted on judge wilkins and his family. in 1992, judge wilkins attended his grandfather's funeral in chicago and then began in all-night road trip home with three family members. judge wilkins was due back in washington, d.c. that coming morning for a court appearance as a public defender. a maryland state police trooper pulled him over, the police detained the family and deployed a drug sniffing dog to check the car after judge wilkins declined to consent to a search of the car stating there was no reasonable suspicion. the family stood in the rain during the search which did not uncover any contraband. judge wilkins later said it's hard to describe the frustration
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and pain you feel when people pressure you to be guilty for no good reason and you know that you are innocent. we fit the profile to a t, we are traveling on i-68 early in the morning in a virginia rental car and my cousin and i the front seat passengers were young, black males. the only problem was we were not dangerous, that they were not guilty of anything. it should not be suspicious to travel on a highway early in the morning in a virginia rental car and it should not be suspicious to be black. after the traffic stop, judge wilkins began reviewlg -- reviewing state police data and while most of the drivers searched for black, blacks made up only a small minority of the drivers traveling on the road. judge wilkins filed a civil rights lawsuit which resulted in two landmark settles celtments first to require a systematic computation and publication by police agencies of data for all
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highway, drug and weapons searches including the race of the motorist involved, the justification for the search and the outcome of the search. the settlement required the state police to hire an independent scument consult annual, conduct internal investigation of all citizen complaints of racial profiling and provide the maryland naacp with quarterly reports containing detailed information on number, nature, location, and disposition of racial profiling complaints. these settlements inspired a june, 1999 executive order by president clinton, congressional hearings and legislation that has been enacted in half of the 50 states. it was a landmark case. it pointed out the right way in which we should have oversight and the right way to end racial profiling. and judge wilkins took the leadership and did something that many of us i think would have had a hard time doing, putting himself forward in order to do what was right.
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as my colleagues know, i've introduced s. 1038, the end racial profiling act, which would codify many of the practices now used by the maryland state police to root out use of racial profiling by law enforcement. the judiciary committee held a hearing on ending the use of racial profiling last year and i am hopeful that with broader discussions on racial profiling generated by the tragic death of trayvon martin we can move forward on this legislation. judge wilkins played a key role in the passage of the statute establishing the museum of african-american history and he served as the chairman and the site and building committee of that presidential commission. the work of the presidential commission led to the passage of public law number 108-184 which authorized the creation of the national human of african-american history and culture. this human will be the newest
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addition to the smithsonian and is scheduled to open in 2015 between the museum of american history and the washington monument on the national mall. judge wilkins continues his pro bono work to this day. he cowrnl serves as the liaison to the standing committee on pro bono legal services of the judicial conference of the d.c. circuit. he is committed to public service. he is committed to equal judge under the law -- justice under the law. as a judge since 2011 he has presided over hundreds of cases including both jury and bench trials. he sits on a federal bench which hears a annual unusual number of cases of importance to the federal government, including voting rights, environmental and administrative law cases. judge will will coins cins has been nominated for the appellate court that would hear appeals from the courts on which he currently sits. he understands the
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responsibilities of the court he's been nominated to by president obama. the american bar association gave judge wilkins a rating of unanimously well qualified to serve as appellate judge which is the highest possible rating from the nonpartisan peer review. the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit is also referred to as the nation's second highest court. the supreme court only accepts a handful of cases each year so the d.c. circuit often has the last word and proclaims the final law of the land in a range of critical areas of the law. only eight of the 11 court seats are filled resulting in a higher than 25% vacancy rate on this critical court. it is today with large vacancy numbers, the court channels complex cases in the area of administrative law including reviewing decisions and policy areas such as environmental, labor and financial regulations.
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nationally only 15% of appeals nationwide are administrative in nature and the d.c. circuit that figure is 43%. they have a much larger caseload of complex cases. the court also hears a variety of sensitive terrorism cases involving complicated issues such as enemy combatants and detention policies. let me quote from former chief judge henry edwards who said review of large multiparty difficult administrative appeals is the stable of the judicial work in the d.c. circuit. this lien distinguishes the work of the d.c. circuit from the work of other circuits. it also explains why it's impossible to compare the workload of the d.c. circuit with other circuits by simply referring to raw data of case filings, end quote. and chief justice roberts note bed two-thirds of the cases before the d.c. circuit involved the federal government in some
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civil capacity while that figure is less than 25% nationwide. he also described the d.c. circuit's unique character as the court with special responsibility to review legal challenges to conduct the national government. so, mr. president, we have a person who is eminently qualified for this position and judge wilkins, we have a need to fill these vacancies, the senate should carry out its responsibility and conduct an up-or-down vote on judge wilkins' nomination, we're going to have a chance to do that in a few moments. and let me remind my colleagues that the senate unanimously confirmed judge wilkins in 2010 for his current position and he has a distinguished lifelong record of public service. i ask the senate and my colleagues to vote so that we can move forward and get an up-or-down vote on this eminently qualified judge. and i hope my colleagues will support his confirmation. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i listened to the words of my good friend from maryland and the senator from maryland is absolutely right in what he said. i -- it is a strange time. you know, i've -- i've been here almost four decades and i've experienced some dramatic changes in senate majorities and leadership styles going back and forth between both parties. but nothing at all has compared
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to the change that's occurred here in the last five years. since president obama was sworn in as president of the united states, something i've never seen with any other president -- and i've been here since the time of president ford -- senate republicans have made it their priority to obstruct at every turn the consideration of nominations that he has put forward. the republican leader said his main goal was to have the president fail. confirmation votes that regularly occurred by consent, now you have to have cloture. bipartisan home state support for a nominee no longer is what's needed for timely confirmation. make no mistake, mr. president, what's happened in this obstruction, senate republicans across the line -- senate republicans have crossed the
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line from the use of the senate rules to the abuse of the senate rules. its the same kind of abuse that shut down our federal government recently, costing the taxpayers billions of dollars. but one of the things that concerned me as chairman of the senate judiciary committee, what it is doing to undermine and eventually destroy both the integrity and the independence of our federal judiciary. in the great glories of our three-part government in this country is the federal judiciary has always been independent, we've kept it out of politics. this last five years they've dragged it into politics. and more than that, the same kind of republican obstruction has left the federal judiciary often with 90 or more vacancies throughout this country over the past five years.
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now, if you're a litigant and you need the protection of our federal courts, you don't care whether they're republicans or democrats. you don't care whether they were supported by a republican or a democratic president. all you want, whether you're plaintiff, defendant, state or respondent, you want to be able to go into that courthouse and be treated fairly. now you can go into that courthouse and there's nobody there, 90 vacancies caused by the stonewalling on the other side of the aisle. you know, the same republicans who are stonewalling once insisted that filibustering of judicial nominations was unconstitutional. they said very clearly when there was a republican preside president, if you're going to filibuster judicial nominations, that's unconstitutional. well, the constitution didn't change when barack obama became president, but whoop-de-do,
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suddenly their attitude changed on this, they reversed course. and i'll tell you how bad it was. if anybody talked about filibustering a judge when there was a republican president, they all would be on the floor sayi saying, oh, this is unconstitutional. now, i don't know what there is different about this president, but the very first name he had out here, the very first one, they filibustered that judicial nominee. can you imagine? this is the president, they started the first very -- within a very short time after the president was sworn in, the very first person. oh, incidentally, that judicial nominee was strongly supported by the most senior republican senator here, the most senior
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republican senator supported him but the leadership oh, no, we've got to filibuster and block. because, after all, it's president obama who nominated, not president bush. and they filibustered 34 of president obama's judicial nominees. the president's only been in there five years. that's twice as many nominees that required cloture during eight years of president bush's terms. most of them are, by any standard, noncontroversial. most of them are supported by well-known names in -- in the law, both republicans and democrats. but we still had to fight and get cloture to get them through. most recently the senate republicans decided to filibuster well-qualified now knee after well-qualified nominee for the united states court of appeals for the d.c.
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circuit. the court has three vacant seats. now, during the bush administration -- during the bush administration, the senate confirmed president bush's nominees to the 9th and the 10th and the 11th seat and then there was a vacancy to the 10th seat and to the 10th seat again. but now when a new president has been elected -- i might say reelected by a solid majority, the senate republicans say, oh, no, wait a minute, we needed those judges when it was a republican. we don't need them now that it's a democrat. it's an unprecedented level of obstruction. in my four decades here, i've never seen anything like this by either party, what the senate republicans are doing. in fact, i'd say to the
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distinguished presiding officer who is from maine, the former senior senator from maine, well-respected republican in this body, olympia snowe, recently said, when you have these back-to-back rejections of nominees, at some point it may be time to reverse the results of the election. now, tonight we're going to try to end the filibuster against judge robert wilkins. he's got the highest rating possible by the american bar association. when he was up for the u.s. district court, he was confirmed unanimously. he's presided over hundreds of cases. he's issued significant decisions in various areas of the law.
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prior to serving on the bench, he was a partner for 10 years in private practice and 10 years the public defender in the district of columbia. this is a man who in past presidents, in past senates would probably go through by a voice vote after dozens of senators in both parties stood on the floor to praise him. but what the difference is, he was nominated by president obama and suddenly they're trying to block him. this is a man who served as the lead plaintiff in a racial profiling case which rose out of an incident in which he and three family members were stopped and detained while returning from a funeral in chicago. the lawsuit led to landmark
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settlements that required systematic statewide of compilation and publication of highway traffic stop and search data by race. inspired an executive order by president clinton, legislation in the house and the senate, and legislation in at least 28 states prohibiting racial profiling or requiring data collection. a landmark case. the distinguished presiding officer and i come from states where we hope we don't have racial profiling. most of us look-alik look alikee states of maine and vermont. but many of us, many senators here know there are -- there are cases of racial profiling and they should be stopped. mr. president, i'm aware of that
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happening even to members of my own family. maybe when some of these change, if we have more diversification in our federal bench. you know, if judge wilkins is confirmed, he's only going to be the sixth african-american to ever have served in what's often considered the second-most powerful court in the country, the d.c. circuit. again, with the highest qualifications. i mean, this -- most people who are nominated by either republicans or democrats, no matter who they are, to courts wish they had his experience, wish they had his qualificatio qualifications. in fact, i'd ask unanimous consent to include a list of support from many in the record. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. leahy: so all i'm saying, mr. president, republicans said the d.c. circuit should be operating at full strength when president bush held office. what's the difference between president obama and his nomine nominees? if it made sense to be operating at full strength under a republican president, shouldn't it be operating at full strength under a democratic president? yesterday's "washington post" editorial said -- quote -- "it's transparently self-serving of g.o.p. lawmakers to oppose d.c. circuit come knee nominees onlys a democrat's turn to pick them." he's right. i'd ask to put that in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and as to -- i ask to
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put my full statement in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, the halls are full of people talking about whether we're going to have a change in the cloture rule. this kind of delay, this kind of delay for the sake of delay, this kind of treating this president different than other presidents, that's why there's momentum toward a change in our rules. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all time has expired. under the previous order, the clerk will report the mottle to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of robert leon wilkins of the district of columbia to be united states circuit judge to the district of columbia circuit, signed by 17 senators.
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the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of robert leon wilkins of the district of columbia to be united states circuit judge for the district of columbia circuit shall be brought it a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. on this vote, the yeas are 53, the nays 38.
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one senator responded present. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i enter a motion to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked on the wilkins nomination. the presiding officer: the motion is entered. under the previous order, the senate will resume legislative session. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 91, s. 1197, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year -- mr. reid: no one can hear. the presiding officer: the senate is not in order. the clerk: for fiscal year 2014, for military activities for the department of defense for military construction and for defense activities of the department of energy, to prescribe military personnel
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strengths for such fiscal year and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to s. 1197, an original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the department of defense, for military construction and for defense activities of the department of energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year and for other purposes shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 91, the nays are 0. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that the first amendments in order to s. 1197, the defense authorization bill, be the following two amendments, and i -- with a little editorial comment here. these are two very important amendments that i think we should resolve. the guantanamo amendment, mr. president, i think most all democrats accept what's in the bill. the white house accepts what's in the bill. the republicans and a few others want to change what's in the
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bill. we should have a debate on that and have a vote on it. i -- i think that's appropriate. gillibrand, that's an amendment that's received a lot of attention and we should have that debate now. it's received nationwide attention. so let's start over again, mr. president. reason i mentioned these two and these two only tonight, i ask unanimous consent that the first amendments in order to s. 1197 be the following: the republican leader or designee relative to guantanamo and gillibrand or designee relative to sexual assault. that each amendment be subject to one side-by-side amendment relevant to the amendment it is paired with. that a mic mccaskill-ayotte amendment be considered side-by-side to the gillibrand amendment and the republican leader or designee have -- okay, mr. president. we have a little -- a few issues here.
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mr.: we're al mr. reid: we're all set nowment mr. president, that each amendment be subject to one side-by-side amendment relative to the amendment it is paired with, that a mccaskill-ayotte amendment be considered side-by-side to the gillibrand amendment and the majority leader or designee have the side-by-side to the republican guantanamo amendment, that no second-degree amendments be in order to any of these amendments, that each of these amendments and any side-by-side be subject to 60-vote affirmative threshold, that each side-by-side amendment be voted on prior to the amendment to which they were offered. further, that no motions to recommit be considered. finally, that upon disposition of the amendments, i be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, reserving the -- first of all,
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let me say to my good friend, the leader, that i wholeheartedly agree that the two arguably the most significant amendments and most controversial amendments that have to be addressed would be on the guantanamo and then, of course, on the gillibrand amendment on sexual assaults. i -- i think we probably have different views and positions but i think we agree that these need to be addressed immediate immediately. my wish has been that we could do that and line up some of the other amendments but at the same time put ourselves in a position where we could have open amendments on our side. there's a great demand in our -- in our conference for -- to have open amendments on -- and it -- i'd like to get to the point where we can do that and have them somehow regulated so they be relative to the -- to the -- to the subject matter of the -- of the bill, of s. 1197.
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so that would be my concern. and for that reason, i would object. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: objection is heard. the majority leader. mr. reid: i hope we can work on additional amendments beyond these two after they're disposed of. this is an important bill. we need to finish it before we leave here this week. and it's a big, big task to do that. it's my understanding that senator levin, working with the ranking member, have already had some serious conversations about how to move forward on conferencing, preconferencing, and even though the ranking member has been indisposed because of a medical condition that lasted just a short period of time, he's been in touch with his staff and senator levin on
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almost a daily basis. so i hope we can move beyond these two amendments. i would sure like to get these two amendments out of the way as soon as possible. so as far as an open amendment process, mr. president, that' that's -- i think that was then and we're here now. i'm not sure that that's going to happen on this bill but i'm -- if we could work something out for a finite list of amendments or something that would help us get this done, i'd be happy to be as reasonable as i could be. mr. levin: mr. president, would the majority leader yield? mr. reid: yes, of course. mr. levin: the majority leader has said we have to finish this bill this week. if we can't make progress on amendments where we agree should be called up, are important amendments, one from -- coming from basically from each side, even though they'll probably be votes from each side for these amendments and against. if we can't make progress on these amendments, where everyone seems to agree we ought to start
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moving, i am worried about the prospects of finishing this week. frankly, i'm worried anyway. i am very much worried about that. it has to happen. we've got to finish this week or else we can't get to conference. we have to get to conference and then come back. so i would hope that in the morning, perhaps, that the majority leader might renew that unanimous consent request, because the objection to it it is going to make it less likely that we can get our bill passed. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: to the senior senator from michigan, the chairman of this most prestigious and important committee, what i think would be a real shame is if we wind up having to file cloture on the bill as it's written. now, i know the committee did great work. they worked very hard and the
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vast majority of the time they did it on a bipartisan basis to get the bill to where it's now here. but it would be ashame to have to file cloture on the bill itself. i would hope that if we have to do that, we can get cloture on it and get on with the conference. but, i mean, i'm just very troubled. today is monday. and i would hope in the morning -- i will be happy to renew my request as soon as i get here in the morning, but i would hope that the people who are working on these two important pieces of legislation, at the very least would come and start talking about them. everyone knows what the amendments are. they may not be able to pass a test on every word in the amendment but we know the concept of the amendments. let them come and start talking about these amendments. they are, they are -- to this stage, they've been negotiated and debated in the press. let's debate them here on the senate floor.
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i would be happy to yield for a question. mr. inhofe: yeah, i hope that the leader's aware that i have just as strong feelings about these amendments. it's a starting place. and you said we need to be talking about them. i came down today and i talked about both these amendments at some length. and while i say we may not be in agreement with the -- with the amendments, but they need to be debated. historically every year since i've been, i would say to the ranking member through the cha chair, we have had a lot of amendments. we've always been able to get -- get it through. what, 50, 51 years. mr. reid: 52 i think. mr. inhofe: 52 years and we're going to do it this time and i want to do all i can to help that happen and satisfy some of the concerns in our caucus at the same time. so i -- i thank the leader for his comments and want him to know that we are in agreement on some of these -- on getting to these amendments. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from michigan. mr. reid: mr. president, i would only just -- before i yield to the senator from michigan. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: there are things in this bill that are not resolved in the defense appropriation bill. thrr things done that authorize things to be ton in the military that can only be done by authorizing. and so i am very concerned myself about being able to move forward on this bill. and we don't live in a vacuum here. we have to work something out with the defense -- i mean, i'm sorry, with the appropriate committees in the house of representatives and then have both the house and senate vote on this. that's what cmpses ar conferencl about. so time is of the essence. mr. levin: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from oklahoma, my ranking member, the ranking member on armed services, because i know how much he wants to get to this bill. i don't understand the objection
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that i know is not his personally but comes from his side. i don't understand how we are advancing this bill and advancing the cause of reaching debate on amendments on this bill by objecting to move to two amendments that i think everybody wants to debate. i don't understand how that advances any cause. and i know that this is not the senator from oklahoma's approach. and he -- and we have a very bipartisan committee. but, any washings washingsway t that. i hope in the morning we can begin an amendment process on this bill and i want to end by thanking him. he has not only had his personal health issue, but as the majority leader and all of us know in this body, he's had a very, very tragic loss, and he's work being very, very hard through that, and we -- we doubly and triply appreciate his service to this body and his
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bipartisan working on the armed services committee. it is invaluable. and i don't want anything that i say here tonight about being frustrated, that we can't start debate on two amendments that everybody wants to debate, in any way to imply sig anything -y anything other than a very positive relationship that we have. mr. reid: i ask consent to yield back all postcloture time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the question is on the motion to proceed. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. mr. reid: mr. president -- the presiding officer: the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report. the clerk: s. is 197, a bill to authorize appropriations for
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fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: on behalf of senator levin be, i have an amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: th the senator from nevada, mr. reid, for mr. he have levin proposes amendment 2123. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: on senator levin's barvetion i have a second-degree amendment at the desk -- on behalf of senator levin, i have an amendment that i ask the clerk to report. the clerk: amendment number 212 to amendment number 2123. mr. reid: i have a motion to recommit s. 1197 with
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instructions. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, notifies recommit the bill to the committee on arm services with instructions to report back forth 13 with with the following amendment numbered 2 2125. mr. reid: on that motion -- mr. president, i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have an amendment to the instructions at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an amendment numbered 2126 to the instructions of the motion to recommit. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes an
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aimed numbered 2127 to amendment number 2126. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that we proceed to a period of morning business, senators aplowed to speak for up to ten minutes each until 8:00 this evening. as i thought i said, mr. president, this will be for debate only. the presiding officer: is objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum -- oh, i'm sorry, senator boxer. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: what we've just seen on this floor tonight is just more and more of the same obstruction. this is now the fourth d.c. circuit judge that the republicans have filibustered. that means they have not allowed us to have an updarn vote. and i'm not going to go into the qualifications of these people. they're stellar. and we'll have more time to debate that.
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but it's extraordinary. we never heard that the d.c. court should become a smaller court when george bush was president or any other president. but now yo all of a sudden they want to shrink the court. when in fact this is probably -- i would say it is the most important circuit in the country, and a very important caseload. so first we see that obstructi obstructionism, a filibuster of the court nominees. and then we see my dear friend, the ranking member of the armed services committee -- i think reluctantly -- object to moving forward with two amendments that are essential to the bill. the two amendments, one has to do with guantanamo, one has to do with sexual assault in the military. and my friend from oklahoma representing the republicans said, we want an open amendment
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process. just so people know what that means, when someone says we want an open-amendment process, it means they want to offer amendments that have nothing to do with the defense bill to this particular bill. and, again, we're stymied. and i was just home and people will just saying, why you don't guys -- why don't you guys get along? why don't you get things done? well, we're trying. we dints have one democrat -- we didn't have one democrat filibuster the junls. we didn't have one democrat oppose moving forward with two critical amendments. but tonight -- first i'd like to ask unanimous consent that major nicole stoneberg be granted floor privileges during the consideration of s. 1197, the defense authorization act for fiscal year 20146789. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: then i request
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unanimous consent that a fellow in senator warner's office, mark zemerkovsky be granted floor privileges for the duration of the defense bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you so much. and i would ask if i could speak as long as i have the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: so, mr. president, we see obstructionism here from my republican friends. and they're my friends. they're my friends. but i don't get this. this is a military bill. this is a dangerous world. we're bringing our troops back from hot spots around the world. they're still in grave danger. we've got sexual assault in the military that i'm going it talk about that is rampant. we have so many issues that we want to address, and yet we hear objection.
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we can only hope that in the light of day tomorrow cooler heads will prevail and we can begin debating and voting on these critical amendments. i have to say, it's puzzling. it took us days and days to do the compounding bill, which is a bill necessary to make sure that these pharmaceutical outlets that compound drugs are safe. it passed the house. it's uncontroversial. days and days because a senator wants to talk about his -- membersmembers of congress's heh care. we got to start talking about the people. we can't go down lower in public opinion. it's embarrassing. at first i thought it was our families. but now i doubt they feel we're doing a good job. i don't know who the 9% is but
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thank you, thank you, thank you. it will get better when we start working together. i'm very hopeful -- i'm going to charity water resources development act conference. we're going to conference on that bill. it's 500,0000,000 jobs. a bill passed the house. we have a good bill in the senate that passed. we hope to iron out our differences. noi that he senator murray and paul rye onare trying bring us an agreement on the budget. i pray to god they get that done. but meanwhile we've got a bill that should bring us together: the defense authorization act. and yet still, what happens? stymied. we have supremely qualified judges for the circuit court. and what happens? they're filibustered. we can't vote on them. and they're left out there hanging with all of their qualifications. it's ridiculous. so something has got to give. well, there's a couple of issues i've worked hard on in terms of
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this bill. i have a number of amendments, but i wanted to talk about two that i've been very involved with. one is my own amendment, number 2081 that i wrote with senator graham, lindsey graham, quite bipartisan. and we have an amazing list of cosponsors. do we have it with us? which i will put in the record right now. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: it includes the following: and i see someone is is inning g -- someone is missing here, so i want to check. i'm going to read thew he is in alphabetical order. ayotte, blumenthal, blunt, donnelly, fisher, gillibrand, graham, hire row knee, mccain, mccaskill, murkowski, shaheen, tester and warner. thiwonderful.
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and this amendment that we have written is going to reform what we call the article 32 process. in the military when there is a sexual asawment an assault and n is made to move forward with the trial, there is first a pretrial. that's called the article 32 process. it is the equivalent of a pretrial hearing. and even though there is supposed to be a rape shield law in place, it doesn't work. what's happening is these article 32 proceedings have become their own trials. an opportunity for the defense to -- the defense counsel to harass and intimidate sexual assault victims. in fact, according to the d.o.d., 30% of sexual assault victims who originally agreed to help prosecute their offenders change their minds before the trial, because they know and they told us, they are
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revictimmized by the process. so let me tell you -- and i'd ask unanimous consent to place my entire statement in the record, if i might, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: so i'm going to give you a few cases. in april 2012, a 20-year-old female midshipman at the u.s. naval academy was raped by three football players at an off-campus party. the young woman testified during the proceedings where she was forced to endure 30 hours of relentless questioning by attorneys for her attackers. the questioning included graphic questions about her sexual history and even what she was wearing under her clothes. now, anyone who knows anything about the civilian side of the law, this could never, ever be allowed. never. then in october 2008 elizabeth lyman, stationed in san diego, california, was raped in her
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barracks by another marine and she was 11 weeks pregnant at the time. she was forced to testify at two article 32 proceedings before her case was sent to a court-martial. and this is what she said. "my rapist hired a civilian attorney who asked me outrageous questions. these questions were extremely upsetting to me. i had just been discharged from the hospital when i was told i had to take the stand for the second time and i was told i had no choice if i wanted the charges to go forward." this is what the article 32 procedure has become. i went to senator lindsey graham, because he is an expert, indeed is an attorney, and has served in the position of counsel. and i will tell you, he said right away, it is revictimmization. it is wrong. it is a runningaway train. and we have to fix it. i was so grateful to him. in july 2012, 23-year-old marine
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carolyn morthold was raped in a bar on the grounds of the manager barracks in washington, d.c. earlier this year she testified in an article 32 proceeding against her alleged attacker. accord according to her -- quote -- "the overall experience was painful. it was the first time since the night of the rape i actually saw the man who hurt me. it was terrifying. it was uncomfortable. i felt dehumanized. i felt i was being made out a liar and blamed for everything that happened to me. the intimidation, the tactics, the blaming, all in front of the man who raped me were completely overwhelming." and she supports this bipartisan amendment to reform article 32. she says people don't come forward because they know they're going to be revictimmized, so they walk away. and i am just very pleased that we have strong

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